#blacklivesmatter #icantbreathe #sayhisname #georgefloyd
#blacklivesmatter #icantbreathe #sayhisname #georgefloyd
Admission is free, and light refreshments will be served.
Join us in celebration of the continued collaboration between the Tahoe Yoga Shala and local artist, Shelley Zentner. The Shala and Shelley have teamed up to create instructional fine art drawings of the Ashtanga Primary Series. Each drawing is a study of the poses that comprise the Primary Series and were used as visual guidance in the Shala’s Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training Manual. Every drawing is an original, one-off artwork, created with charcoal on Stonehenge Archival paper.
All original drawings will be for sale. Custom prints, the Teacher Training Manual and special edition Full Primary Series charts will also be available for purchase. A percentage of the profits will be donated to local causes and charities to which we feel connected. Advance reservations of specific poses can be made by contacting Shelley at email@example.com. Watch time-lapse videos and learn more about the artistic process by following Shelley on Instagram @ShelleyZen.
So I’ve finally finished all 74 (I think? I keep losing count…) drawings for our Art of Ashtanga project. Phew! That was some intense work, I tell you. A year of hard work, juggling family life, my own teaching job, and a massive, research-heavy mural project on American industrial agribusiness (more to come about that soon.)
Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book ‘Outliers’, about the ‘10,000-Hour Rule’, claiming that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours. I didn’t come anywhere near that, probably closer to 1000 hours, but I definitely saw a huge transition from the tentative early drawings to the confident finishing poses. I feel like that mirrors the experience of learning Ashtanga yoga, and I love the earlier pieces as much as the later ones. You have to embrace the whole journey, I reckon. All part of the process.
The teacher training has been completed, and the finished manual looks amazing. Massive respect to our graphic designer Aubrey Coon for her beautiful work, and also the brains of the operation Laura Josephy for assembling and organizing a mind-bendingly huge amount of information. It’s a great feeling to witness a direct application of your work in a teaching process, especially as it’s a practice I love personally.
If you’d like to see the originals all in one place, Tahoe Yoga Shala is hosting an artists reception on November 3rd from 5-7pm. It’s a one night pop-up show, and we’ll attempt to hang as many drawings as we can in two laps of the studio. It’s a free event, and we’ll have wine and nibbles too.
I’ve been ordering some lovely print samples from the incredible Millers Professional Lab, on silver paper, matte fine art paper and even aluminium. They’re stunning. Even the invites are sparkly. So come and join us for a celebratory tipple, and maybe go home with some yoga inspiration for your practice space. Namaste 🙂
When my yoga teacher, Laura Josephy asked me if I’d be interested in drawing every pose in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series for her teacher training manual, I jumped at the opportunity. I love drawing the human figure, and the challenge of making 75 studies felt like an extension of my own yoga practice, and an opportunity to deepen my understanding of anatomy.
What I hadn’t anticipated was the profound nature of the journey, both artistically and personally.
I’m learning so much from the repetition and discipline required to work with this much consistency. The fine nature of the drawing style requires a level of concentration and absorption I haven’t experienced since I was an art student. I have a yoga anatomy book under my easel, along with David Swenson’s seminal Practice Manual for reference.
Uniting other disciplines with art is not a new venture for me. I graduated from the University of the West of England in 1997, with a degree in Art and Visual Culture. The program was an experimental blend of studio art, philosophy, theology, politics and history. It suited me because I love ideas as much as I love making art. To me they’re inextricably linked. I’ve always had a very broad range of academic interests, and I’m not and expert at anything – I just have a childlike curiosity about things and find connections intriguing.
This curiosity has led me to combine art with many different fields of study, such as science and cultural politics. I also use my art for social and political activism and founded the local group Tahoe Activist Artists in 2017. The imagery that manifests in my work is usually centered on the human form although I like to spend time outdoors, communing with nature. I fill sketchbooks with observations of landscape and nature, working out ideas and emotions with words and images combined.
I first came to Ashtanga around 12 years ago, not long after I moved to Tahoe from Wales. My husband and I had met whilst bouldering our way around Canada and the US. I didn’t have my work visa yet, so I took a few classes at Lake Tahoe Community College for something to do, and to connect with like-minded people. I took oil painting and figure drawing with Phyllis Shafer and Ashtanga with Amrito Cross. I was too committed to climbing to maintain a regular practice though, and soon ended my daily practice after the quarter was finished.
I began practicing yoga again last October after I realized that I had to let go of climbing after 21 years. I was diagnosed with endometriosis and breast cancer in 2015, and the treatments, trauma and surgeries have changed my life. The transformative nature of the disease has presented me with what I call the ‘dark gift’. Meditation and a new spiritual practice brought me to the realization that I needed physical activity which nurtured my body and soul in a way that climbing no longer did.
Ashtanga initially attracted me because it reminded me of a long, technical boulder problem. Visualization, memorization of sequence, and fine, meditative, detailed work balanced with the big movements or gestures are the qualities of bouldering and art that I love. I find this again in yoga, with a different language that translates to the same thing.
When I can practice regularly, I feel at one with the world. The nature of Mysore style classes allows for a personal journey, supported by caring teachers. I feel part of a community again, and I also enjoy occasional Yin and flow classes. My body feels strong and supple, and I feel nurtured and empowered. The athletic nature of this practice satisfies my need to be physically energetic. The spiritual, meditative aspect of the practice calms my mind, makes me feel connected to the universe, and helps release the tension of my body.
I’m profoundly grateful to have found the Shala, my teachers, and to have the opportunity to explore my practice in more depth through art. It makes me happy to know that the drawings will continue in their journey as a teaching tool, and find purpose in the education of a new generation of instructors.
The project will be completed in March 2019, just ahead of the 200-hour RYT Teacher Training and Mysore Style Apprenticeship at the Shala.
There will be an opportunity for the public to view the first 30 original drawings, for one night only. An intimate gathering will be held at the Shala at 585 Tahoe Keys Blvd, on Sunday, November 11th, from 6 – 8 pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served, and admission is free. Yoga teachers Laura and Kacey will be present to share and discuss the Ashtanga practice and teacher training. All drawings will be for sale, and a percentage of the profits will be donated to causes they feel connected to.
Watch timelapse videos and learn more about the artistic process by following me on Instagram @ShelleyZen. Learn more about Tahoe Yoga Shala at www.tahoeyogashala.com
“The use of ochre is particularly intensive: it is not unusual to find a layer of the cave floor impregnated with a purplish red to a depth of eight inches. The size of these ochre deposits raises a problem not yet solved. The colouring is so intense that practically all the loose ground seems to consist of ochre. One can imagine that the Aurignacians regularly painted their bodies red, dyed their animal skins, coated their weapons, and sprinkled the ground of their dwellings, and that a paste of ochre was used for decorative purposes in every phase of their domestic life. We must assume no less, if we are to account for the veritable mines of ochre on which some of them lived…”— Leroi-Gourhan, A. 1968. The Art of Prehistoric Man in Western Europe. London: Thames & Hudson, p. 40.
Drapery Study (2018)
Charcoal heightened with white conte on Gray Paper
16 x 22″
When I teach drawing classes, I try to find a balance between formal, academic drawing and experimental markmaking which allows the student to express themselves more freely. I find studies like this to be incredibly valuable. The level of complexity requires an ability to see past details and break down the subject into simple shapes.
“All good work is from the general to the particular, from the mass to the detail. Keep that in mind as a fundamental principal of all good work, whatever the kind.”
~ Daniel Pankhurst
This type of work also trains the student to work with focus for extended periods of time. It requires commitment, and a strong work ethic.
For my current class schedule, please visit Lake Tahoe Community College.
I was asked to paint a mural at my daughter’s school in 2015, on the theme of the decline of the pollinators. The school has a strong connection with nature, healthy living and science. They have growing domes on site, and use them to teach the kids about all aspects of the food chain. At a time when farming has become a highly mechanized, chemical agrobusiness, and many people have lost their connection with nature and where their food comes from, Sierra House’s program is a great example of how consciousness is shifting. The mural was funded by UC Davis CALFresh Program.
The painting features melting honeycombs to represent global warming, bats, mosquitoes, ladybugs, honey bees and monarch butterflies which are dying out because of neonicotinoid use in agriculture. I also added local medicinal plants, flowers and fruit. Portraits of actual kids from the school and staff felt like a great way to personalize the mural, and make it relatable for the kids.
I wanted the mural to be cautionary, but optimistic. It is, after all in a school full of very young children. However, I’m just starting work on what I regard as a ‘grown-up’ version of of the same theme, for a private client in Heavenly Village. It has been dubbed the ‘Monsanto Mural’, and will feature much stronger, darker visual language to protest the status quo in our food industry. We will be live streaming the creation of this mural starting early 2019, on a dedicated website. Follow our progress via my blog on this website, Instagram and Facebook Page.